The Zika Virus

In the last few days, the news popping up on the BBC World News is The Zika Virus. The pictures in the news are disturbing. 

It will be important to understand what exactly in the Zika Virus.

What is the Zika Virus?

The WHO explains the Zika Virus as below.
  • Zika virus disease is caused by a virus transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes.
  • People with Zika virus disease usually have a mild fever, skin rash (exanthema) and conjunctivitis. These symptoms normally last for 2-7 days.
  • There is no specific treatment or vaccine currently available.
  • The best form of prevention is protection against mosquito bites.
  • The virus is known to circulate in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific.
Why is the Zika Virus in news now?
  • In Brazil, the number of babies born with suspected microcephaly - or abnormally small heads - has reached nearly 4,000 since October.
  • The Brazil's health ministry has said that Forty-nine babies with suspected microcephaly have died. In five of these cases an infection with Zika virus was found.
  • Scientists say there is growing evidence of a link of Zika Virus to microcephaly. Microcephaly is a rare birth defect, where babies are born with abnormally small heads and developmental delays.
  • Infants are most at risk from the Zika Virus, as mothers can pass the infection on to their fetus.
  • The link between microcephaly and Zika has not been confirmed at the moment. However, a small number of babies who died had the virus in their brain and no other explanation for the surge in microcephaly has been suggested.
Microcephaly - Is it Related to the Zika Virus?
Microcephaly - Is it Related to the Zika Virus?

  • Brazil is experiencing the largest outbreak of Zika. Most cases are reported in the North East. South east Brazil is also seeing some cases.The populous cities of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo are a part of the South East. 
  • Rio will be hosting the Olympics this year. With around ten thousand athletes taking part in the Olympics and close to 9 million tickets on sale, there are heightened concerns about the risks of spreading of the Zika Virus.
What are the Governments Saying?
  • Four South American and Caribbean nations have warned women to avoid pregnancy amid concerns over an illness causing severe birth defects.
  • Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador and Jamaica have recommended women to delay pregnancies until more was known about the mosquito-borne Zika virus and its relation to Microcephaly.
  • US health authorities have warned pregnant women to avoid travelling to more than 20 countries in the Americas and beyond, where Zika cases have been registered. These countries are as below.
    • Central and South America: Bolivia, Ecuador, Guyana, Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Honduras, México, Panamá, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela
    • Caribbean: Barbados, Saint Martin, Haiti, Martinique, Puerto Rico, Guadeloupe
    • Oceania: Samoa
    • Africa: Cape Verde
In case you are visiting the mentioned countries, do take care of yourself and keep yourself tuned to the guidelines.

Stay safe.
The Zika Virus The Zika Virus Reviewed by Vyankatesh on Saturday, January 23, 2016 Rating: 5

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